Bad Law Professor of the Week

450px-john-yoo1You knew I’d get around to him sooner or later.

Inexplicably, John Choon Yoo is still a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley. He got his undergrad degree at Harvard and his JD at Yale.  After law school he clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit.  Later he went on to clerk for “Justice” Clarence Thomas. I am familiar with the work of both judges – rest assured that they are both right wing nutjobs who, in a just world, would be restocking vending machines or collecting bull semen.

Professsor Yoo really came into his own in 2001,  when he went to the Justice Department as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel. Among other things, he worked on “separation of powers” issues.  And as we all know, he concluded that “unitary executive” Preznit Bunnypants didn’t have to obey international law or pretty much any law he didn’t like. This opened the door for loyal Bushies to engage in extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, and torture.  Especially torture.

Yoo’s fondness for torture was expressed in various memos that gave the Bush administration legal cover to do pretty much anything it wanted to do. Remember this?

The victim must experience intense pain or suffering of the kind that is equivalent to the pain that would be associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in a loss of significant body functions will likely result.

Ah, the good old days, when Dick Cheney could torture Pakistani cabdrivers with abandon and Donald Rumsfeld was riding high.  But now President Obama has rejected torture.  And Professor Yoo, predictably, believes this action portends the end of the republic:

John Yoo, infamous author of the Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of torture on suspected terrorists, slams President Obama for banning torture in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, gravely warning that Obama “may have opened the door to further terrorist acts on U.S. soil.”

So if we don’t torture detainees they’re more likely to turn to terrorism?  Really? The geniuses they get to write for the WSJ editorial page!

Yoo then proceeds to shake his bloodstained finger at our new president:

Eliminating the Bush system will mean that we will get no more information from captured al Qaeda terrorists. Every prisoner will have the right to a lawyer (which they will surely demand), the right to remain silent, and the right to a speedy trial. […]

Relying on the civilian justice system not only robs us of the most effective intelligence tool to avert future attacks, it provides an opportunity for our enemies to obtain intelligence on us.

Yeah – a shame if we can’t hold them for five years or so before we try them.

Then he starts to make shit up:

The CIA must now conduct interrogations according to the rules of the Army Field Manual, which prohibits coercive techniques, threats and promises, and the good-cop bad-cop routines used in police stations throughout America. … His new order amounts to requiring — on penalty of prosecution — that CIA interrogators be polite.

Um … no.  Wrong again John.

So there you have it – another authoritarian asshole who should not be shaping the minds of lawyers.  Or anyone, for that matter.

Torture Lover John Yoo Excoriates Obama for Banning Torture [Think Progress]

John looks like a US American uncle of mine and an even bigger blowhard (I would have never thought possible) than he is.

Yoo, unknowingly, was also a pawn in my mom’s game of “Inspiring Koreans I should Look up to because you cause great shame to the family.”

My mom waxed poetic about the joys of Koreans who became prominent important people because they listened to their mothers AND studied hard which was great (for her) till she found out about Yoo’s love of torture.

“Does this mean if I listen to you that I can be a war criminal, too, mom?”
“Um, no. Er. Shut up. I don’t want to talk about it anymore…”

In my day, his ass woulda been run off campus.

I hope whoever hired this phenomenal asshole, at Berkeley no less, is getting tons of hate-mail.

Guantanamo should be kept open just to keep the rest of the world safe from this prick.

@Dodgerblue: No shit, they should be constructing a gallows for him in People’s Park. What’s wrong with the kids these days?

@Pedonator: Well, my kid, who is about to graduate college (not at Berkeley), is very worried about getting a job.

Shouldn’t that read “Bad Law Professor of the Century”?
@Pedonator: Berkeley sure as hell ain’t what it used to be.

TJ: Blago pleads his case:

“You haven’t proved a crime and you can’t because it hasn’t happened,” he told the legislators. “How can you throw a governor out of office with incomplete or insufficient evidence?”

To which the Republican leader of the Senate responded:

“I’m immune to his speech giving,” she said. “We’ve seen those tricks before.”
“He gives a good speech,” she added. “He’s a performer. He’s very good at that. Perhaps he can get a job in the arts.”

@Mistress Cynica: How about “Douche-cunt shitbag motherfucking asshole shitstain prick fuckhead dipshit pigfucking lying fucktard of the Century?”

I get just as enraged by the type of deceptive parsing, the sheer stupidity, of this guy’s legal analysis, as by the fact he was being deceptive and stupid in order to justify torture. Like a fucking 8-year old who is trying to argue his way out of something. “When you said “don’t go swimming,” I thought you meant “don’t go out where the water is over your head and you have to swim to keep your head above water.” I stayed in the water where I could stand, I didn’t know that counted as “swimming.”

Also smug, like, thinks he’s a clever little boy. I do so want to kick him repeatedly in the balls.

Mistress Cynica: The rebuttal of the impeachment prosecutor lasted ten minutes. It was extremely good. To the no-evidence claim, he simply said that he could have given testimony today in order to refute evidence, on oath, but instead chose to speechify and bitch about how he couldn’t call Harry Reid to the stand (who wouldn’t have helped Blago anyway, because Harry Reid is a boring, boring man).

Srsly: Blago would have had a clear (albeit legalistic) claim at being robbed if he had done that. As it stands, there is no record evidence of anything besides what the prosecution brought in. Ballgame.


What’s really sad is that our nation is so depraved that whether to torture people–and whether to hold people accountable for ordering torture, an undebatable war crime–is just a difference of opinion to be chatted over at “fancy DC cocktail parties” or in newspaper op-ed pages.

Meanwhile, the people who had the courage to blow the whistle and speak out against torture have had their lives ruined. Oh and btw, get caught with a dime bag and you can prepare yourself for the gas chamber.

Where have all the heroes gone?

@ManchuCandidate: I gots me an idea. If his parents registered him in the Yoo family book (he was born in Seoul, sez Wiki), he probably never did mandatory military service in the ROK. That’ll get him 22 months doing hard labor – or at least working the riot squad in front of the US embassy, which is always a blast – if he should find himself on the other side of immigration at Inchon airport.

Also, dude married Peter Arnett’s daughter. WTF?

Heh. Those ROK drill Sgts are pretty vicious (or so I’m told.)

I’m already picturing Full Metal Jacket Dubbed in Korean with Yoo as the Hangul version of Gomer Pyle.

@Mistress Cynica: Pardon my pedantry, but isn’t impeachment a political act? There aren’t any inherent standards of justice, just how many votes you can muster.

And to the main topic, Our Favorite War Criminals are all but wishing for a terrorist act so they can blame it on Barry. I wouldn’t be averse to a treason prosecution.

@ManchuCandidate: I did some work with civil rights attorneys in Seoul, and they couldn’t get anywhere on the issue of conscientious objector status. A government official stated the options plainly to me: do your mandatory 22 months service or spend an equivalent amount of time in the pen. They always have a couple dozen buddhists under arrest, and apparently the military prison conditions are fairly good.

In re: Blogo, apparently even his ethnic cousins are displeased.

@nojo: The Illinois Constitution does not even require “high crimes or misdemeanors,” it just says “cause,” so it seems that being a blowhard asshole, and having ridiculous hair, is grounds.

Ohhh, ooohhhhh, ooohhhhhhhh, AMT to be abolished under the Senate plan, yay yay yay.

@nojo / Prommie: Of course it’s a political act. Just look at the floor speeches. If I hear “this is a sad day, but in another sense this is a happy day” or somesuch one more time, I might just impeach myself.

But note: Blagojevich said he should not be impeached because of all the good that he has done. Is there any doubt that there are others who can do precisely the same thing? There really is no intrinsic need for having him, and only him, be the Governor. I mean, Pat Quinn could do precisely the same shit that Rod did, with an accepted level of dealmaking, but without the blatant strongarming and self-serving.

If the state or its people suffer unnecessarily, and to an overwhelming degree, because of his presence in office and his misdeeds in it, impeachment is there. It’s usually a ghost story that parents tell their sons and daughters who happen to be governor, but sometimes it becomes real. And here we are.

I’m surprised Mr. Yoo didn’t cite Jack Bauer as an example of how well torture–excuse me, enhanced iterrogation– works. I’ve always liked that line of argument. By the same token, intelligence analysts should mainline cocaine so they could put together scraps of information as well as Sherlock Holmes.

@Jesuswalksinidaho: Mr. Yoo did manage, in his analysis, to confuse a justification defense with an exculpatory defense, and to take the entire premise of “lesser of two evils” out of context. 24 is propaganda intended to further the confusion. Just like calling the Attorney General “General.”

@chicago bureau:

In a perverse way, I kinda have a grudging respect for Blago. It’s just so rare to see a Demoncrat who’s grown a pair that I’m oddly fascinated.

It’s too bad that he can’t seem to use his powers for anything other than his own self-aggrandizement of course.


Just wait till they make Senate bribes tax deductible, then the champers will really start flowing.

Am I the only one here who thinks that collecting bull semen would actually be kind of a cool job?

@Marcel Parcells:

So long as you’re cool with shoving an entire arm up a bull’s ass and massaging his prostate, then sure!

He’ll probs want dinner and movie first, though.

Jesuswalksinidaho: At Ricks College?

@Marcel Parcells:

In Arkansas, they call that “Friday night.”

@Marcel Parcells: @Original Andrew: Dudes! They use this FUCKING HUGE metal bullet-like probe thing connected to some sort of electrical box that sends a FUCKING CURRENT up the bull’s ass to produce the ejaculate. Being the guy administering the prostate shock might not be too bad, but the poor fucker who releases the bull from the lock down after the shock might have to watch his ass. Unless the bull feels kind of drowsy and happy. Then I guess you could just give him a cigarette and let him mosey on his way. (Saw this on Dirty Jobs. God, I love the Discovery Channel. Man vs. Wild, Survivorman and now Les Stroud from Survivorman (which did not get renewed) has a new show called Off the Grid where he and his family are preparing 150 acres in BumFuck Egypt for habitation where they live completely off the grid. Fucking AWESOME!.)

Should I bring back my Yoo gravatar? Folks went apoplectic the last time I had it up. Just couldn’t handle the eau de douche, I guess.

@JNOV: I think I speak for everyone when I say absolutely not.

@JNOV: Don’t bring back the Yoo avatar!! Do you watch “Mythbusters”? I love that one, and it’s filmed over in Portrero Hill. I saw Grant at Trader Joe’s last year and I almost passed out from the excitement. I tried to play it cool but I don’t think I succeeded…


In Seattle, we call that “Friday night.”

@SanFranLefty: If I somehow score tix to see this Bruce guy at the HP in San Hose in April, would it be possible to run into Kari there? Next concert – Slipknot in March with the boy on the floor.

@SanFranLefty: Oh, hells yes I watch “Mythbusters,” and Grant is teh hawt! I love that they’re filmed all over the old stomping grounds. Makes me homesick!

@Mistress Cynica: Oh, okay. But I love that picture of him that exudes craptasticness and douchosity. Consider it retired.

@Original Andrew: Ho, ho, ho!

@JNOV: We love “Survivorman”, didn’t know it had been cancelled. Dude actually gets lost on his own, unlike that Bear guy.

@JNOV: @SanFranLefty: Grant gave a talk at Local State U last year and my 8 y.o. got to sit in the front row and ask him a question (“what are you afraid of?”). Ms. Nabisco organized the event, so we also got a pic and an autograph. He did all the engineering on the R2D2 and C3PO models.

She’s trying to get Jerome Bettis for the fall, which will be totes awesome .

@nabisco: I saw the James Bond episode the other night and was just amazed at the job Grant did on the Odd Job hat throwing machine.

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